Birht anniversary celebrations of 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan by the Congress government in Karnataka passed off without any major incident on Friday. Elaborate security arrangements had been made across the state to prevent clashes between right-wing groups opposed to the celebration of Tipu Jayanti and those backing the celebrations.
With police banning rallies and the Tipu Jayanti events being held in small areas under the watch of more than 70,000 policemen, no major incident of violence was reported on Friday in contrast to 2015 when two persons were killed after clashes in the Kodagu region of the state.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who initiated the celebration of Tipu Jayanti three years ago, said the state was “honouring India’s first freedom fighter and the Tiger of Mysore for his bravery and sacrifice in fighting the British”.
“Karnataka salutes his patriotism, courage and military excellence,” he said in a Twitter tribute to Tipu Sultan.
The opposition BJP and right-wing groups have been opposed to the celebration of Tipu Jayanti since Tipu Sultan is viewed as a religious bigot by some communities in the state. The BJP staged protests in districts like Kodagu over the celebration. Union minister Ananthkumar Hegde had last month sought omission of his name from official records for Tipu Jayanti.
However, with President Ram Nath Kovind recently equating Tipu Sultan with a freedom fighter, the BJP protests on Friday were a muted affair. In some parts of the state, political leaders associated with the BJP attended Tipu Jayanti events. Hospet MLA Anand Singh took part in the celebrations while Bengaluru constituency saw Tipu Jayanti posters featuring BJP MLA Satish Reddy — who however denied his involvement.
In some districts such as Udupi, the incharge Congress minister Pramod Madhawraj was conspicuous by his absence from official Tipu Jayanti events.
Stray incidents of stone throwing were reported from Kodagu where more than 100 people, including local BJP MLA Appachu Ranjan, were detained by the police. Kodagu observed a bandh on Friday to protest Tipu Jayanti. Prohibitory orders will be in place in the district till Saturday.
In Kodagu, Tipu Sultan is viewed as a tyrant who killed hundreds of Kodavas who fought on the side of the British. A resident of Kodagu had sought a ban on celebrations but his plea was rejected by the high court this week.
In Mangaluru, BJP district minority morcha president Franklin Monteiro, was arrested after he tried to barge into a Tipu Jayanti event. The Catholics of Mangaluru are also opposed to Tipu Jayanti since they were also attacked by the former ruler.